"This could have easily been the same tragedy that occurred in West Memphis," says Collierville Police Chief Larry Goodwin.
In surveillance video, an 11 year-old boy casually walks through a Collierville convenience store. He fills his backpack with Hostess snacks and cans of Red Bull. He's also packin' a realistic-looking BB gun.
"Nobody knew it was a fake gun or a toy gun," said George Gurkin.
Gurkin's family runs the store, which is equipped with 16 security cameras.
"He filled his backpack and walked back to the front of the store," says Gurkin. "He was in here two or three minutes, tops," recalled Gurkin.
In the video, you can watch as the 11 year-old tries to exit. Suddenly, plain-clothed cops step in, one of them grabbing the gun, then taking the kid down to the ground.
"It was a good decision," said Goodwin.
He says the officer's split-second decision helped avoid a tragedy.
"He could have retreated and pulled his gun and had a stand-off," said Goodwin. "He could have pulled him gun and shot him," he added. "He didn't do that."
The encounter came minutes after several people reported seeing the kid walking down the street, armed with what they thought was a serious weapon. Next to the chief's own gun -- it's nearly impossible to tell the difference.
"I mean, there's nothing good that can come out of walking down the street -- or even carrying something like this," Goodwin said as he looks at both guns.
The chief believes BB guns that look this real should not even be sold. He says they should definitely be kept out of the hands of any kid.
The kid is charged with a number of serious crimes -- including aggravated robbery. Meantime, detective John Forrester is being commended. He's the officer who actually grabbed the gun.